2000 Romantic Comedy, rated PG, runs 1 hour, 56 minutes

Written by Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake
Directed by Bonnie Hunt (her first time out)

Major cast
David Duchovny
Minnie Driver
Supporting cast
Carroll O'Connor
Robert Loggia
David Alan Grier
Bonnie Hunt
James Belushi

Do you like movies that make you feel good about the world, even while making you cry on occasion? This is such a movie. With just a touch of romantic magic, this is a chick flick to be sure.

In addition to romance, it has comedy, everybody's favorite sport (bowling), and four old men singing Danny Boy (though that scene was deleted). I'm not particularly close to my family, but even I could appreciate the closeness and bon homie among the extended family of Driver's character.

It also has a very pleasing cast. In addition to as many of director Hunt's relatives as she could squeeze in, there is Carroll O'Connor as Driver's grandfather and owner of O'Reilly's Italian Restaurant, and Robert Loggia as "the best Italian chef in Chicago" (and part of the family, I think. To be honest, they're all so close that I'd have to watch it again and take careful notes to be sure what all the relationships are.) And, what made me buy my copy of the movie, as it always does, James Belushi is there. Not a large role, but satisfying for any J.B. fan.

The DVD contains one deleted scene, a music video, and a commentary track by Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake.

Bob Rueland (David Duchovny) and his wife
Elizabeth (Joely Richardson) are preparing to
attend a black-tie fund raiser at the Lincoln Park
Zoo in Chicago, IL. She is in charge of the ape
exhibit and has long dreamed of building a new
roomy outdoor enclosure for them.

Grace Briggs (Minnie Driver) is in a hospital bed,
looking sickly, attended by an older woman (Bonnie

We see them at the party, schmoozing
with the wealthy patrons, humoring a large donor
(played by Dick Cusack) who regales everyone he
can collar with the story of his large
anonymous donation.

Grace is cracking jokes about the heart she is
hoping to receive before it's too late, while
Megan tries to pick her words carefully so as not
to touch on the subject.

Bob is awkwardly running down a hospital hallway,
his shirt covered with blood, trying to keep up
with a gurney being wheeled to an operating room.

The dedicated phone on the wall of O'Reilly's
Italian restaurant rings. With everyone else
holding their breath, Marty O'Reilly (O'Connor)
answers it, demanding "You got it? You got it?", and
then immediately departs for the hospital.

    Bob sits on the floor of             Marty kisses his granddaughter as
    his house, leaning against          she is wheeled into the operatory,
    the front door, and now that        and begins the waiting in lounges,
    his friend Charlie has left,        cafes, and the chapel, accompanied
    begins to cry and holds his           now by Angelo, Megan and Bob and
    dog, who is still waiting            their children, and more extended
    for Elizabeth to come through         family. They wait, and pray, and
    the door.                                              wait, and wait.

A year later, and we see that Grace is waitressing at O'Reilly's, and Bob's construction company is building the new exhibit for the zoo, in addition to his other building jobs around the city. Each has well-meaning friends or family trying to push them into starting new social lives, as Bob hasn't been out since losing his wife, and Grace is extremely self-conscious about the large scar down the middle of her chest. She carries around a letter to her donor (to be delivered through an anonymous remailing service for parties to a transplant) that she keeps not mailing because she's afraid words aren't thanks enough, but finally does.

Bob finally acquiesces, and Charlie tells him to meet him at O'Reilly's restaurant Friday evening, where he'll be introduced to a really great lady friend of Charlie's. The woman turns out to be more of a harridan, and Bob joins their waitress -- surprise! it's Grace -- in common misery when she unveils her persona as the customer from Hell.

This presents opportunities aplenty for bonding
and humor. When Grace brings four glasses of water
to the table, Bob's "date" demands bottled water
-- "but not from Switzerland. I got sick on Swiss
water, d'ya remember?". While Grace is in the
kitchen, getting a bottle of water and pouring it
down the drain before refilling it from the tap,
Bob is off to the side taking a phone call, and
smiles at her and winks his agreement. Back at the
table, the lady complains "Isn't there anything
that's not cooked in oil here", and Grace
responds, "Yes, some things we boil in Swiss

Bob and Grace begin dating, and Bob is welcomed into the family at O'Reilly's. After a few dates, Grace wants to tell Bob that she's had the transplant, but can't bring herself to do so. One evening, at Bob's house, she's definitely decided tonight is the night. Then, with Bob in another room, she sees Elizabeth's newspaper obituary, and it dawns on her that Elizabeth died the same day she received her new heart. Then, under the newspaper, she sees the letter that she wrote. She runs from the house, leaving a bewildered Bob with an off-the-cuff lie, and ends up crying at Megan's house and telling her the impossible truth.

The next day, composure restored, she is able to tell Bob, and adds that she is going away so as not to remind him of Elizabeth. (She had long dreamed of going to Italy.) Then it's Bob's turn to leave and try to come to grips with the situation. Grace leaves for Italy the next day without seeing Bob again, but over the next few days Bob decides to go after her, and there is a happy reunion in Italy. Finally, we see Bob, Grace, and the whole gang at the dedication of the zoo's new ape habitat.


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